Review: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption (1st Story from "Different Stories", by Stephen King)


Different Seasons is a collection of novellas by Stephen King. The book contains four stories: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, The Body, and The Breathing Method. Each story is given a subtitle, one for each season of the year. 

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is at its heart a tale of unjust imprisonment and offbeat escape, in the tradition of The Count of Monte Cristo. Andy Dufresne was sent to Shawshank prison in 1948 for the murder of his wife and her lover the golf pro at Falmouth Hills. Like everyone at Shawshank, Andy declares he is innocent but it is not many years later that Red, the narrator of the story and the one man at Shawshank who can get you things, comes to believe that is actually the case. Until that point this novella has been about how a man, innocent or otherwise, survives in a prison, and about the creation of a true friendship. But then it becomes a personal quest for justice and about beating the system when the game is fixed.

The idea of being in prison for a crime you did not commit is ultimately more of a terror tale than vampires, haunted hotels, or rapid dogs, mainly because there are few things more frightening in this world than a convict living without a chance of parole. But that only serves to underscore the idea that there are few things more important in this world that friendship and justice. At the very least, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption stands as a Stephen King story that people who do not like to read Stephen King stories can actually read. (Source: amazon.com, shawshankredemption.net)

NOTE: The novella was adapted for the screen in 1994 in the film The Shawshank Redemption. The casts include Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, and Clancy Brown. In 2009, the story was also adapted for the stage in the play The Shawshank Redemption.

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